poll position

What the Polls Say Today: Maybe Warnock Really Is Going ‘Downhill’ in Georgia

Good polling news for Walker and Kemp. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

Eleven days before Election Day, the overall midterms picture is looking up for Republicans. With early voting underway in a majority of states, it seems that a Republican wave of undetermined size is approaching, putting the Senate into play and very likely delivering the House to the GOP. But in weather and in politics, forecasts are often wrong and there are multiple unknown factors to take into account.

Here’s what the polls are telling us today:

Warnock and Kemp may indeed be surging if you believe certain pollsters

On a hot mic Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told President Joe Biden things were going “downhill” in Georgia, which was a bit surprising given the many recent troubles of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker in that state. But we’ve now gotten confirmation of that trend in back-to-back polls, though both are from pollsters Democrats don’t trust a lot.

First, Rasmussen Reports did a rare horse-race poll (the firm more or less foreswore late-cycle horse-race polling after 2020) in conjunction with a far-right radio-show host. It showed Walker ahead of Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock by a five-point (48-43) margin among likely voters. That’s the largest Walker lead any poll has shown during this entire campaign. Rasmussen also showed incumbent Republican governor Brian Kemp leading Democrat Stacey Abrams by ten points (51-41), which is less surprising; Abrams has trailed in every public poll since she managed a tie back in June.

Anyone tempted to write off the Rasmussen poll as the product of partisan bias has to come to grips with a later poll release from Insider Advantage that gave Walker a three-point (48-45) lead in a smaller sample of likely voters than Raz polled. The same poll showed Kemp leading Abrams 52-43. Insider Advantage was founded by a former Georgia Republican legislator, so it’s always had a pro-GOP reputation in the state, but FiveThirtyEight doesn’t show its polls as having any such bias. It’s the 11th straight October poll giving Kemp at least 50 percent of the vote, which is important because Georgia requires general-election runoffs where no one wins a majority. Walker, by contrast, has never polled at or above 50 percent.

Georgia’s being polled heavily right now, so soon we should have additional evidence of the existence or nonexistence of a GOP trend in this important state.

Hochul may be out of danger, but Zeldin’s hanging around

Democrats have been getting worried about New York in general (which helps explain why President Biden went there this week) and Governor Kathy Hochul in particular. A couple of weeks ago, a Quinnipiac poll showed her lead over Republican congressman Lee Zeldin as shrinking to four points (50-46), with a trend line going in the wrong direction. Now a new survey by Emerson for The Hill gives the incumbent an eight-point lead among likely voters with leaners added in (52-44), presumably out of the imminent danger zone. But Zeldin’s doing pretty well, historically; the last three Republican gubernatorial nominees in New York received 36, 40, and 33 percent of the vote.

More on the polls

See All
Polls Do Show Democrats Going ‘Downhill’ in Georgia